Happy In Bag

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Saved By the Kitchen












"We'd like a table for two," I told the greeter at The Westside Local early Saturday evening. "No, I didn't make a reservation."

The greeter sighed in exasperation and retreated. (Never mind that their site notes that "reservations are accepted for parties of 6 or more.") As I looked around the nearly vacant restaurant I began to have reservations of my own.

I had an identical exchange with two additional employees before finally being seated. A couple minutes later I was asked to move to another table. The Westside Local staff didn't seem to want me there. Had I not witnessed other customers treated in the same manner- one couple was forced to wait ten minutes before being allowed to sit at the still largely empty establishment- I would have taken it personally.

After I ordered the lamb pot roast I was informed that it wasn't available. My second selection was also rebuffed. The waiter then suggested that I might like to peruse the "right" menu and returned a couple minutes later with a different list of offerings. Weird. Everything was just a little bit off. Everything, that is, except the output of the kitchen.

The food at the Westside Local is fantastic.

21 Comments:

  • At 11:06 AM, Blogger smh said…

    This is exactly how I found Westside Local to be on a visit last summer. Only my food was cold. But the disorganization and absence of certain items was the same.

     
  • At 11:30 AM, OpenID andrewzender said…

    You're far more patient than I might have been in that situation. Out here in D.C., I made a Valentine's Day reservation for two at the popular Legal Seafood about two weeks prior to the day. We were seated almost immediately upon our arrival.

    I had to chuckle at the party of 12+ people without a reservation that were acting completely inconvenienced because they were forced to wait for a table at a well-known restaurant on a semi-popular day for people to go out to dinner.

    The food was great, the service was good - and Wilco's "Box Full of Letters" jammed on the PA system! Could it get any better?

     
  • At 11:41 AM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    Interesting and disappointing, SMH.

    You know how sensitive I am to music, AZ. I love T. Rex, but I became annoyed that a Marc Bolan compilation was playing at a low volume the entire time I was at the Westside Local. Crank it up or turn it off.

    And how can you whisper sweet nothings to your date when your brain is telling you to sing along?

     
  • At 12:26 PM, OpenID andrewzender said…

    I do have to agree to you on that one, HIB. I often find myself in situations where I'm unable to form thoughts or even articulate anything because my mind is magnetized to the melodies heard overhead. On the flipside, there's always muzak.

     
  • At 12:47 PM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    Whatever happened to "silence is golden"?

     
  • At 10:02 AM, Blogger bgo said…

    I don't give a rat's ass if the food was fantastic. If I was treated from the outset in such a manner I would make a huge racket and then depart middle finger extended. Remember. I've become a cranky old man.

     
  • At 10:09 AM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    In the interest of demonstrating to my date that, in spite of everything she'd experienced thus far, I'm not really a temperamental loon, I just smiled patiently. And besides, BGO, the high drama of it all was rather riveting.

     
  • At 10:42 AM, Blogger bgo said…

    Remember HIB, I worked at a place for years where patience was a mandatory virtue and then time ticks by and the fuse grows shorter. At my current place of employment, I revert to the sort of character required for civil public discourse. I am an exemplary citizen dedicated to serving the community-at-large. But restaurants with attitude I will seek and destroy.

     
  • At 10:43 AM, Blogger smh said…

    I believe you'll find plenty of attitude at Westside Local. You'll also find some of the ingredients that must combine to make an incredible restaurant. But you'll not find all of them.

     
  • At 12:15 PM, Anonymous LTB said…

    They need to get their menus straight. A recent trip(restaurant week no less) had my companions and I comparing dishes and realizing that we had 2 different menus. The server was very hospitable and took care of the problem, but it makes the place look a bit disorganized. Service was very cordial during my visit, no snobbery. Food was good. Beet salad is a little weak, but the mussels are delicious, as was my wife's quinoa. I had a similar experience w/ Giacomo's in Boston this year. The blog that someone maintains for them(they don't have a website) stated no reservations. As it was Marathon weekend and very busy, we arrived to be told no reservations, no seat. However, after voicing some disgust w/ the stated reservation policy the kind hostess promptly seated us at a table adjacent to the door(worst seat in the house, but when you're carb loading it'll do). We had great service and weren't rushed at all by our kind server. LIkewise, this past weekend in Boulder I arrived to a full house at The Kitchen and the kind hostess took my name and cell and said we could probably get a seat in an hour, but she'd call if anyone bailed. A half hour later I was seated for one of the best meals I will likely eat this year.

     
  • At 12:22 PM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    Thanks for comparing notes, LTB. (Nice blog, by the way.)

    I do intend to return, SMH and BGO, but not until after Easter. I understand there's a beer garden. I'll order the mussels and enjoy a cold one.

    Maybe that's the proper way to experience the Westside Local.

     
  • At 1:35 PM, Blogger smh said…

    Despite my slight dissatisfaction last time I was at Westside, I would like to return to try out the beer garden. It seems like a great spot.

     
  • At 2:17 PM, Blogger karen said…

    Westside Local is one of the most vexing places to dine. The service can be outstandingly weird. I've had food on my plate and a fork in my mouth when a server would try to whisk the plate away.

    They are often out of more than one item from the menu, and worse yet, often out of more than one beer we attempt to order.

    Once we were seating at 3:50 pm, placed our order at 3:59, but weren't told about the 4pm happy hour until we got our check, as in "Oh, you should come for happy sometime." We were charged regular prices, one minute prior to 4!

    But you know, like HIB, we always love the food!

     
  • At 2:18 PM, Blogger karen said…

    sorry about the typos!

     
  • At 2:21 PM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    That's the most damning testimony yet, Karen.

     
  • At 2:26 PM, Blogger karen said…

    I hope I didn't seem too harsh! I was just recounting some less than perfect experiences there. We'll go back for sure. We'd love to see them tie up all of those loose ends and keep cooking good food. And maybe expand their lunch menu.

     
  • At 2:28 PM, Blogger smh said…

    I think that is really the crux of the whole situation. They have some really exciting elements at Westside, unfortunately they are also glaringly lacking in others. How can you be a restaurant that emphasizes your beer selection and then continually be out of a number of beers!

    Sorry if this is becoming redundant.

     
  • At 12:27 PM, Blogger The DLC said…

    See all these comments, HiB? THIS is why I have a restaurant blog!

     
  • At 12:41 PM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    I'm considering inviting Happy In Bag readers to meet me at the Westside Local's beer garden on a sunny afternoon in April. That could be fun. (Or disastrous.)

    It's so true, The DLC. The subject of my next post is a local jazz artist. The topic is vitally important to me and about three other people.

    But it must be done.

     
  • At 5:05 PM, Anonymous James said…

    Hi folks! Not sure if people catch up with comments on year-old blog posts, but I want to let all the posters on this thread know that the Westside Local is under new management with a new chef as well. We're still committed to supporting Local farmers and businesses, and you might find some weirdos in one corner or the other, but please give us another shot!

     
  • At 6:12 PM, Blogger smh said…

    James, when did the management/chef change? I've been back twice in the last 6 months (first visit was late summer of '09 I think) and have really enjoyed the food and service. We still got sort of a funny look when we came in without reservations on a Thursday night.

     

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